If you ever want to have a conversation about food, then Sandra Gissing is the person to talk to. Sandra is a regular at Ashram Yoga and owner of Constant Cravings – a café offering a wide range of delicious foods including vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
We talked with Sandra to find out more about her love affair with food.
Where does you inspiration for food come from?
Everywhere! Books, (I read cookbooks like others read novels), magazines, family, friends, customers and even butter wrappers! (Anchor Butter has for many years featured an excellent chocolate cake recipe).
Do you have many cookbooks?
People are always asking me how many cookbooks I have and I tell them life’s too short to start counting cookbooks! But, when pressed, I do admit that in my office I have wall-to-wall shelves packed with recipe books and magazines all organised into type and date order! Some of my favourites are the old Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbooks (from the 1970′s) they have some of the best recipes – even by today’s standards.
Would you consider yourself mainly a pastry chef?
My passion totally encompasses everything to do with cakes and desserts. I still do the other things, but if you gave me a choice I would just immerse myself into baking.
How do you manage not eating all the food you make?
I do eat the food I make! I put my body on the line every day! Just for my customers – so I can give my honest recommendation. Everyday I have customers who rely on me to decide what they are going to have for either their morning tea or lunch.
How does yoga benefit you?
I am constantly on the go, but I have found that when I go to Ashram Yoga a minimum of twice a week my body changes – it becomes a lot more comfortable. Because I stand all day, I have a problem with my lower back and the only thing that relieves it is yoga. If I have had a stressful day, I know that when the yoga room door closes I have 1.5 hours to myself. I can turn my phone off, nobody knows where I am, no distractions, just time to relax and unwind.
Yoga really helps to keep me balanced – especially the Yoga Nidra (guided relaxation) and also Shantimurti’s classes. I’m one of his biggest fans.
Sometimes it can be a real challenge to make it to yoga, but I have learnt to set boundaries and be firm about making time for myself. I find that if I make time for myself, then everyone benefits.
Do you like Prasad’s food at the Ohui Retreat Centre?
I love Prasad’s cooking. It is very different from what I do myself. I love the way he works with all the different spices. I enjoy his cooking style.
Constant Cravings offers a wide range of gluten free goodies that rotate daily, including ginger crunch, frangipani, pumpkin and date scones, quiches, sweet and savoury muffins, gourmet kumara/potatoes, pumpkin and pesto pies, slices (some also being dairy free) and many other delicacies.
Location:……..2 Claude Road, Epsom (behind Huckleberry Farms)
10 min to prep veges
1 hour to cook in oven
Difficulty: 1 out of 10
Deliciousness: 12 out of 10 (especially with a swig of port!)
Prepare it a day before to allow flavours to develop
For effective presentation cut the vegetables into quite large chunks, about 3 to 4 cm
4 tbspns olive oil
2 large red onions, sliced into thin wedges
2 small aubergines, chunks
6 cloves garlic, chopped
5 or 6 ripe tomatoes, chunks
4 courgettes, halved lengthwise, chunks
2 red peppers, seeds & membrane removed, chunks
Fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbspn dried basil
1 tbspn dried oregano
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tbspn level sugar
Optional : Good swig of port
In large casserole dish heat oil
Chop vegetables in order listed, adding them to pot as you go
Add seasonings and port
Place casserole dish in oven 150 for approx 1 hour, stir occasionally
Add fresh basil (as much or as little as you like) towards the end of cooking time
Delicious served with crusty bread